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BioWATCH image Wouldn't it be nice if your doctor could monitor you for almost any condition while you went about your day as usual? No more repeat visits to the clinic or overnight stays at the hospital. A device designed to monitor astronauts' health in space may turn this concept into a reality.

Image right: BioWATCH medical monitoring system. Credit: NASA

BioWATCH is a wireless biometric monitoring system designed to observe astronauts on a spacecraft or spacewalk. It can measure a crewmember's pulse, blood pressure, glucose, temperature, joint angles and more, and then send the information to doctors on Earth in real time. Its batteries have an operating life of 8 to 10 hours -- that's more than four times longer than current astronaut monitoring systems. And it's much lighter.

BioWATCH was developed by Zin Technologies and The Cleveland Clinic Foundation under NASA Glenn's Small Business Innovation Research Program. The patient care version can transmit data to doctors via cell phone, internet, Bluetooth or wireless router. It can be reconfigured to monitor various conditions, which makes it ideal for post-surgery patients, participants in clinical drug trials and home healthcare patients.